A long walk off a short pier.

Its the end of the year and its the time where we all look back to see what we did, where we’ve been and who we’ve become. At least that’s what I am feeling and doing at the moment.

I’ve learned so much this year.

Back in October of last year, I was in India and I was regularly attending a Sivananda yoga class with Dr. Jose. He was a very interesting man, hailing originally from Kerala, but would come to Rishikesh to teach. He was a medically trained doctor and he had a very fantastic mustache. Anyway, I digress.

I both liked and disliked his classes. On one hand, I felt challenged, because he was very knowledgeable about yoga. On the other hand, he liked to use people as examples of advanced poses for the others in the class and that person was often me. It was flattering at first, but then became quite irritating, because I just wanted to practice without being self-conscious. The day before I left his class two things happened. 1) He put me into the full locust pose. Here let me show you what that looks like.

That isn’t me, of course, but that is what the pose looks like. Anyway, it hurt my lower back (my sacrum, to be exact. I think it even shifted…screwed around with some ligaments there). I am flexible, but come on…

The second thing that happened was that I came to a lecture he was giving about the fundamentals of Sivananada Yoga. During that lecture, he talked about nutrition and the precepts. He also looked at me and pointed out to everyone my supposed enlarged thyroid gland. He said I should check that out.

I didn’t go back to his class. But I did go to an ayurvedic doctor that said I should eat more salt.

And that’s where lumpy came into my life. The beginning of my lymphoma journey.

After I left Rishikesh, I went down to Kerala to receive a month-long Panchakarma treatment. I’ve written about it on a few different posts. That’s where I received the turmeric oil treatment on my dear friend lumpy.

I came back to Israel at the end of November and didn’t think much about my little invader. The thought that it could be cancer or anything remotely serious never even crossed my mind. I was planning on going to Thailand to study yoga and I was feeling great.

Before I left for Thailand, I went to my aunt’s house for New Year’s. I showed her lumpy. She was not happy about it. In fact, she said anything to do with swollen lymph nodes could be very serious. Well, I thought to myself, I don’t really have time to deal with this now. I’m just going to leave for Thailand and it will sort itself out.

It didn’t.

When I got to Thailand, I was still feeling fantastic and loving every minute of my teacher training course. My friends were wonderful and loving and the teachings were exactly what I was looking for. One of my teachers also happened to be a medical doctor as well as a homeopathic doctor. She’s known as the resident MD… So, I went to her one day after class and showed her lumpy. She told me to go to the hospital and get an ultrasound..as soon as possible.

The panic started setting in at that point. I did NOT want to go to the hospital. I did NOT want to get poked and prodded. I just wanted to do my practice and live my life. But apparently, that just wasn’t an option. So, I took my dear friend Carol with me to the hospital the following Sunday and had some tests done. I had an x-ray, ultrasound and CT scan. The hospital on Koh Samui was very advanced medically…but the language barrier left much to be desired.

And that visit was just the worst. They couldn’t give me a diagnosis without a biopsy and I wasn’t ready for them to cut me open. They did have 3 possible diagnoses though. Tuberculosis, lymphoma or a widespread infection. Great.

It STILL didn’t occur to be that it could really be cancer! Well, maybe a little bit. But I was feeling so far away from illness and disease…so, how could I be so “sick”?

I went back to Koh Phangan and told my doctor about it. I also spoke to the school’s head teacher who told me not to get a biopsy, because it is invasive and could cause more problems. My doctor also told me that we could work with homeopathy, yoga and nutrition to deal with this problem.

And that’s what we did for the next 3 months. Lumpy kept growing. And making new friends. I pretended not to notice. I went home for Pesach/Passover and I had lost a ton of weight. Everyone was amazed at how healthy and glowing I looked. (Again, another reason that I assumed I wasn’t sick.)

I went back to Thailand to continue studying and to start teaching and that’s when I started feeling bad. I had no appetite. I wasn’t sleeping well. Night sweats were an almost daily occurance. I had no energy. And I had a fever all the time. It was no good.

That’s when I came home and the second part of the cancer journey began.

My point of sharing all this is that I feel like I was so hesitant to get a diagnosis, because cancer was something that I had no experience with at all. We don’t have cancer in the family. It had never been part of my life or anyone around me. And now, that I see the end of this treatment (and hopefully, this will be the last!) I am more realistic. I hope that my PET CT scan will be negative and I will be in remission. But that’s not a certainty. Of course, I am still an optimist and I love life and all the interesting things that come with it…its just that I’ve been given this situation for a reason and I can’t just ignore it, like it never happened. This is mine.

My life is different now. No matter what, I can’t go back to where I was. I am here now. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in any other place.


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